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Opera director Gerard Mortier dies in Brussels at the age of 70

March 10, 2014, 0:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 10, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre has expressed its grief over the death of well-known Belgian opera director Gerard Mortier who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 70 in Brussels on Sunday.

“We had received Gerard Mortier at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow shortly before he died,” the theatre’s spokesperson Katerina Novikova told Itar-Tass on Sunday. He was present at the first night of the new seventh production of The Tsar’s Bride, an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, on February 22 and saw the Flame of Paris ballet.

The Tsar's Bride is one of the most popular and frequently performed operas by Rimsky-Korsakov. He wrote it in 1898. The composer had a very special feeling for it.

"Out of many of my operas I love 'The Snow Maiden' and 'The Tsar's Bride' more than others," Rimsky-Korsakov used to say. He started it in February 1898 and finished the music scores ten months later.

The Tsar's Bride saw the first night at the Private Opera of Sava Mamontov on October 22, 1899.

The opera occupied a special place in the Bolshoi's repertoire. Its first production was staged in 1916. The Bolshoi saw six Tsar's Bride productions in various years. The opera obtained the features of grand imperial style on the Bolshoi's stage and remained one of the main productions of the theatre's Russian repertoire for the next hundred years.

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